Marco Antico recently caught up with Jack Bateman who helped run the “Rumble on the Rez” show which took place this past weekend on a local Ontario Indian Reservation. Bateman and Antico discussed fighter safety, sanctioning MMA in Ontario and more.
“Our intention is to run a premier MMA event. Our next show is tentatively planned for Feb. 2 and we’re also considering expanding to Calgary, Edmonton and Quebec. Our financier is also very interested in holding shows overseas in Asia. With the money we have backing us, I don’t think it would take us long to become the country’s biggest promotion,” Bateman elaborated. “This show cost us about $100,000 and we pretty much broke even on it. Having already covered our overhead costs, including lawyer fees, we anticipate that the next show will start making us money, for sure.”
Rumble on the Rez marks the second mixed martial arts event to take place on an Ontario Indian Reservation. The first occured in December 2006 and was titled ‘The Fighting Spirit Challenge’. The show took place on the Oneida First Nation Indian Reserve just outside of London, Ontario and featured 15 MMA fights. Both shows have garnered a respectable amount of attention from both fans and media.
“My primary concern is fighter safety. We did everything we could to help ensure that, including blood work (Hep.A, Hep.B and HIV) and an electrocardiogram (EKG). It’s impossible to get brain scans done quickly here in Ontario, but we’re working on getting this in place for future events,” explained Bateman.
“We had a ringside doctor, who was amazing, and we even had a guy disqualified for not passing his medicals. The referee for all the fights was International Fight League fighter, Wojtek Kaszowski, who did an incredible job. We didn’t allow any booze at the event either.”
“There’s only so much we can do right now in Ontario by holding shows on native reserves and that’s why we’re doing everything we can to legalize the sport here. We hope to follow what Quebec did by first holding shows on reserves, thus putting pressure on the government to open it up professionally. We have lawyers on retainers who all concur that what we’re doing is perfectly legal under section 83 of Canada’s Criminal Code and we’re willing to fight it out in the courts if necessary.”
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